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Manufacturing tech aimed at non-volatile memory devices

Posted: 22 Dec 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Globalfoundries? NaMLab? Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Micro Systems? non-volatile memory?

"This is nothing fundamentally new," Mikolajick said. "The approach has been used since the 1950s. Up until now, the problem has been that manufacturing required complicated materials such as lead zirconium titanate (PZT). For chip manufacture, this has posed two challenges: manufacturing requires measures that are very intrusive to typical semiconductor processes; and scaling below 120nm is impossible."

Novel material enables production of efficient memory chip

In order to realise the dream of a scalable and cost-effective ferroelectric memory chip, Cool Memory relies on hafnium oxide, a material that is already standard in the 28nm production in the factories of project partner Globalfoundries where it is used as a high-k-material (high-k-dielectric). Using doping, the Dresden scientists were able to turn hafnium oxide ferroelectric and they achieved it using conventional manufacturing processes.

Now, the Saxon Leading Edge Cluster is able to produce non-volatile memory chips that enable more energy efficient writing and require lower voltage than chips presently available. They are also much easier to integrate into CMOS processes than conventional ferroelectrics. (CMOS is a technology for constructing ICs.)

Doped hafnium oxide makes manufacturing at very small structural width possible.

"The fact that this innovation is being included into the ITRS shows us how large the interest is especially from the industry," Mikolajick said. "We are delighted that the work of the Leading Edge Cluster Cool Silicon has found such great international resonance."

The first functioning samples of this new version of memory storage-cells scaled to a structural width of 28nm have been produced at the Frauhofer IPMS Centre for Nanoelectronic Technologies in collaboration with Globalfoundries. According to Fraunhofer project manager Johannes Muller, the results are very promising: "In the near future we hope to be able to equip microchips for future generations of more energy efficient smart phones, for instance, with memory developed and produced in Dresden," Muller stated. "This would be a huge success for Dresden scientists and for Dresden as an industry location."

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